According to a recent survey by SustainLane, Las Vegas has the largest alternative-fueled city fleet in the United States.

Founded in November 2004, SustainLane publishes U.S. city sustainability ankings. follows more than 300 participating cities, states, and counties and is the largest community-powered directory of green products and businesses and user reviews.

In its 2006 U.S. City Rankings, SustainLane surveyed the largest 50 U.S. cities on the percentage of city vehicle fleets using alternative fuels, including biodiesel, hydrogen, ethanol, compressed natural gas, electric, and hybrid-electric vehicles. Slightly greater weighting was awarded for biodiesel, electric, and gas-hybrid vehicles.

Las Vegas Leads the Nation with Most Alt-Fueled Vehicles
Las Vegas led the nation with 63 percent of its vehicles using alternative fuels, including 450 vehicles using cleaner-burning B-20 biodiesel (20 percent), and less-polluting compressed natural gas, hybrid-electric, and several zero-emission hydrogen-powered vehicles.

The Las Vegas Regional Clean Cities Coalition (LVRCCC) was formed in 1993 as a locally-based, voluntary public-private partnership. Approximately 130 individual stakeholders representing more than 60 public and private organizations are currently involved in LVRCCC.

The group was a direct result of the Energy Policy Act of 1992 (EPAct), passed by Congress to reduce energy dependence in the U.S. by 30 percent by 2010. As part of EPAct, the Clean Cities program was founded with the mission of helping American transportation systems become more efficient, less dependent on foreign fuel sources, less environmentally disruptive, and sustainable and safe. Among the alternative fuels recognized by EPAct are biodiesel, electricity, ethanol, hydrogen, methanol, natural gas, and propane.

LVRCCC’s goals include promoting the use of alternative fuels in fleets of light-, medium-, and heavy-duty vehicles, including transit and school buses, taxis, cargo vans, and trucks.

Also, part of LVRCCC’s mission is promoting the expansion of fueling infrastructure for alternative-fuel vehicles (AFVs). One of 88 designated Clean Cities across the U.S., LVRCCC is financially selfsufficient, relying on contributions and grants from its stakeholder organizations to fund ongoing operations and projects.

Another measure of LVRCCC’s success is that through 2004, more than 6,000 AFVs operated in the Las Vegas Valley. Several fleets in the Las Vegas area operate 100 or more AFVs, including Bechtel,Nev., the City of Las Vegas, Clark County, Clark County Water Redemption District, Las Vegas Valley Water District, Nellis Air Force Base, Regional Transportation Commission, Southwest Gas Corporation, U.S. General Services Administration, and Yellow Checker Star Transportation.

51 Percent of Honolulu’s Fleet Use Alt-Fuels
Fifty-one percent of the City of Honolulu’s vehicle fleet use alt. fuels, earning Honolulu the second-highest ranking of U.S. cities with alternative-fuel programs.

Honolulu Clean Cities focuses on Hawaii’s alternative fuels and vehicles (electric vehicles, LPG [propane], biodiesel, ethanol, and hydrogen). Honolulu received official designation in August 1995 as the 38th Clean City.

Organizations participating in the city’s alt-fuel program include the City & County of Honolulu, American Public Works Association, Board of Water Supply, The Gas Company,Hawaiian Electric Company, Inc., State of Hawaii Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism, and U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) Fleet Management Branch.

The Honolulu Clean Cities coalition was recognized as an “Outstanding Clean City” by the U.S. Department of Energy. It has also received an award from the Ford Motor Company for its excellent alternative-fuels information program and was awarded a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy and the State of Hawaii for a Multi-Tiered Alternative Transportation Fuels Outreach Program.

Kansas City,Mo.,Operates 45 Percent of its Fleet on Alt Fuels
Kansas City,Mo., placed third on the list of the top 10 alternative-fueled city fleets,with 45 percent of its fleet dedicated to alternative fuels. The Kansas City Regional Clean Cities Coalition (KCRCCC) is also a partner of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Clean Cities Program.

KCRCCC is a network of public and private partners seeking to build the awareness and use of alternative fuels in fleets throughout the Kansas City area. The network consists of public and private fleet operators, alternative-fuel providers, vehicle manufacturers and distributors, and others interested in improving air quality and reducing the use of foreign oil.

The KCRCCC received its initial designation on Nov. 18, 1998, and was redesignated June 16, 2004. The coalition is administrated by Metropolitan Energy.

In 2004, a consortium consisting of the Metropolitan Energy Center, the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority, and the Electric Power Research Institute was formed to investigate production of a “proof of concept” (POC), plug-in (or on-grid) hybrid-electric bus.

This work was undertaken as the first-ever “Joint Partnership Program” through the Federal Transit Administration. The goal is to design, build, and demonstrate a plug-in hybrid-electric vehicle (PHEV) bus as a first step to commercialization. To accomplish this goal, the consortium has partnered with DaimlerChrysler and will build the bus using its Sprinter chassis.The bus will be sized as a paratransit vehicle.

According to the city, a plug-in hybrid would consume less than 25 percent of the petroleum used by a compact sedan and less than 10 percent of the petroleum used by a full-size SUV,on an annual basis.

Albuquerque Has Converted 42 Percent of its Fleet to AFVs
In March 2006, Albuquerque Mayor Martin Chávez issued Executive Order 19, which directs that all purchases of motor vehicles by the City of Albuquerque shall be limited to alternative-fuel vehicles. Currently, the city has converted 42 percent of its fleet to alternative fuels.

The city’s biodiesel fleet includes 1,200 fleet and support vehicles, including trash trucks, fire trucks, and street sweepers, powered by a mixture of biodiesel and petroleum diesel.More than 1 million gallons of biodiesel have been dispensed to city vehicles.

In addition, every gas station in Albuquerque is required to mix its gasoline with at least 7.8-percent ethanol. This mix, called “oxygenated fuel,” reduces carbon-monoxide emissions from vehicles. Albuquerque/ Bernalillo County was one of the first seven communities in the nation to implement an oxygenated fuels program in 1989.

The city is working to encourage year-round sale of ethanol-enriched fuel to reduce carbon-monoxide emissions and currently owns 364 ethanol-ready vehicles.

Compressed natural gas (CNG) and hybrid technology are also major components of the city’s alternative-fuel program. Sixty-five percent of city buses run on compressed natural gas or hybrid technology.

Rental car shuttles at the Albuquerque International Airport use CNG, and the airport has a CNG fueling station. The City Planning division uses Honda Civics powered by CNG. The city also runs four CNG fueling stations.

Dallas and Denver Take Fifth & Sixth Spots for Cities with Most AFVs
Rounding out the top five, with 39 percent of its fleet dedicated to alt fuels, Dallas was designated a Clean City in 1995, and now includes 140 coalition members and interested parties who operate more than 5,800 AFVs.

DFW Clean Cities is administered by the North Central Texas Council of Governments (NCTCOG), the metropolitan planning organization for the region, which represents hundreds of municipal and local government agencies.

Denver, which ranked sixth in alternative-fuel use with 31 percent of its fleet in that category, announced plans in 2006 to convert 100 percent of its city fleet to alternative fuel by the end of 2007. Albuquerque has set a similar goal of a 100-percent alternative-fueled city fleet.

Placing seventh through 10th on the list are Phoenix (28 percent), Los Angeles (25 percent), Seattle (25 percent), and Portland, Ore., (25 percent).

Alternative-Fuel Use Will Continue to Rise in the Future
According to SustainLane, besides improving air quality over conventional fuel, alternative-fuel development is a hot item in economic development.

In January, the University of California, Berkeley and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign landed a joint $500 million research center funded by British Petroleum in conjunction with the State of California, to be located at Lawrence Berkeley Laboratories in Northern California.

Some Midwestern states have long mandated a minimum corn-based ethanol percentage in all gas sold. In 2006, the City of Portland, Ore., became the first major city in the United States to mandate that a minimum percentage of all diesel sold in the city be 5-percent biodiesel fuel, produced from plants such as soybean instead of petroleum products.

Portland also mandated that by July 2007, 10 percent of fuel sold in the city must come from ethanol, and city vehicles run on a minimum of 20-percent biodiesel fuel.